1. ITV Report

What makes bridge such a popular card game?

The Netherlands and Britain compete in the card game Bridge Credit: PA

As a High Court judge is to rule whether bridge is a sport after a legal challenge by the English Bridge Union, ITV News takes a closer look at the popular game.

The English Bridge Union says bridge has been played all around the world for more than 100 years - an early version of the game was played in England as far back as the 16th Century.

  • More than 300,000 people in Britain play it on a regular basis
  • It is played by four players who form two partnerships
  • In June 1995, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) admitted the World Bridge Federation (WBF) as part of the Olympic movement.
  • The Soviet Union tried to replace the kings, queens and jacks of court cards with heroes of the revolution
  • The odds against four players each holding all thirteen cards in a suit are 2,235,197,406,895,366,368,301,559,999 to one.

Many celebrities are also big fans of the game.

  • In Moonraker, James Bond rigs the pack to deal a 34-count to Drax.
  • Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft corporation, competed in the North American Mixed Team championship in 2000. He is still a very keen player.
  • Omar Sharif, who died aged 83, is quoted as saying that he would,“rather be playing bridge than making a bad movie".

Acting may be my business, but bridge is my passion.

– Omar Sharif
Bridge-playing film star Omar Sharif shows his hand Credit: PA

Every year there is a match between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

There are many contests all over the world for bridge teams to compete.